Charges dismissed against Kentucky man who shot down drone for invasion of privacy

A Kentucky man was arrested and charged with criminal mischief and wanton endangerment earlier this year for shooting down a drone with a camera. This week, a judge dismissed all charges against William Merideth, saying that witness testimony corroborated the man’s story that the drone was flying close to his property and family.

Local news station WDRB reports that Meredith claims the drone had hovered near his property six times in one year, including three times in one day. He has a 16-year-old daughter who lays in their yard near a pool, and he was worried that the drone operator was photographing her. After shooting down the drone, there was a confrontation between Meredith and the drone operator. In WDRB’s initial report on the drone shooting, Meredith is quoted saying, “They asked me, ‘Are you the S-O-B that shot my drone?’ and I said, ‘Yes I am,'” he said. “I had my 40 mm Glock on me and they started toward me and I told them, ‘If you cross my sidewalk, there’s gonna be another shooting.'”

Weeks after the initial shooting, Kentucky State Representative Diane St. Onge (R) pre-filed a bill in the legislature that would define and limit drone surveillance. The Electronic Privacy Information Center has a good page collating recent and upcoming legislation around the US regarding the use of drones. For what it’s worth, the FAA warns that shooting a drone can be dangerous and violates laws against shooting at airplanes.

I’ve previously written a bit about drones as they relate to photojournalism, by the way.

And just for the heck of it, here’s a video of a guy saving his drone from the ocean after it lost power mid-flight.

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